Gay discrimination sponsors change message in face of backlash to bigotry | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Gay discrimination sponsors change message in face of backlash to bigotry

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 7:25 AM

CHANGES TUNE: Rep. Bob Ballinger insists people misunderstand his gay discrimination legislation. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • CHANGES TUNE: Rep. Bob Ballinger insists people misunderstand his gay discrimination legislation.

I don't know why reporters let Rep. Bob Ballinger get away with lying about his anti-gay HB 1228.

It failed to clear committee yesterday. And Ballinger's spin began about criticism of its discriminatory purpose. According to Stephens Media:

“Some of it seemed kind of, frankly, degrading,” he said. “Some people are completely missing the mark, either analyzing the bill incorrectly or just saying whatever they want to make it seem like something it’s not.”

Ballinger said some are trying to link HB 1228 with Senate Bill 202, now Act 137 of 2015, which prohibits cities and counties from issuing ordinances to prohibit discrimination toward anyone who is not already protected under federal or state law.

“I think a lot of people got stirred up on 202 and so now they’re using this bill,” he said. “The reality is it should be uncontroversial, that people should have the right to believe what they believe and if the government is going to burden it they ought to have a good reason.”

The Internet tells more of the story. Here's what Stephens Media reported Feb. 15, when Sen. Bart Hester's companion bill SB 202, to tie local governments' hands on civil rights measures,  bill passed the House:

Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Hindsville, presented SB 202 on the Senate floor. He said the bill would prevent ordinances like one the Fayetteville City Council approved in August that included prohibitions against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in housing, employment and public services. Fayetteville voters repealed the ordinance in December.

This was also the occasion when a weepy Rep. Mary Bentley declaimed about the evils of being forced to engage in commerce with queer folk — taking care to spit out the words "lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender" with the distaste she believed they deserved, as opposed to an innocuous acronym, LGBT.

 “I don’t think … a baker that loves the word of God, that’s bringing her children up to honor God and to worship God, should have her business destroyed because she doesn’t want to bake a cake for somebody that’s a transgender trying to marry somebody else.” 

Is this really different from what Ballinger intends with his HB 1228. No. Here's the Stephens account from Feb. 13.

Ballinger said after the vote that HB 1228 would apply in the case of a baker who refused to make a cake for a gay or transgender person, although he said that “it doesn’t mean you automatically win.”

Ballinger also said he believes that gay rights and civil rights for blacks are different issues because people are born into their race but sexual orientation is “a choice.”

Got it? Black people get civil rights. Gay people don't. Discrimination is legal, particularly if you claim a religious pretext.

In other interviews, Ballinger has made clear he viewed the bill as an antidote to the  Fayetteville ordinance that extended civil rights protections to LGBT people.

It would appear today  there's a bit of discomfort with being seen nationally as bigots. The lead LGBT hater in Arkansas, Jerry Cox, is also distributing disingenuous talking points that this bill isn't about what critics say iit is. He hammers the "religious freedom [to discriminate]" message  incessantly — without the parenthetical accurate context.

The Ballinger bill and the Bart Hester bill that Gov. Asa Hutchinson waved into the statute books are intended to protect legal discrimination against gay people — in employment, housing and commercial services.  In some quarters, including most Fortune 500 companies, this presents a damaging (if true) image of Arkansas. So let's talk about religion — solid gold in Arkansas legislative debates — not about discrimination.

To "good Arkansas Christians" religious faith requires discrimination against gay people. Other sinners are granted exemptions when they want to buy a cake. 

PS — It is true this bill is not ONLY about discriminating against gay people, though that's the immediate motive force. It is dangerous particularly because, as witnesses yesterday noted, it offers up a religious defense to all sorts of things that we take for granted — from medical services to city zoning. It is dangerous legislation.

Tags: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (21)

Showing 1-21 of 21

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-21 of 21

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • North Little Rock mayor shows downtown plaza plan

    North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith is presenting a plan to the City Council tonight for a downtown plaza meant to augment planned private developments and further enhanced downtown as a destination.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • Attorney general asks for continued secrecy on execution drugs

    As expected, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has asked the Arknasas Supreme Court for an "emergency stay" of a lower court ruling that the Correction Department must produce labels from one of the drugs used in executions.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • Groups seek end to commercial collection of wild turtles

    Several environmental organizations to end commercial turtle collection in Arkansas.The harvests (more than 126,000 turtles from 2014 to 2016) are not sustainable and that, in turn, is damaging to ecosystems, the groups said.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Charter school accountability: Non-existent in Arkansas

    A state audit finds charter school spending violated state law, but the state Education Department says it has no responsibility for ensuring proper management of charter schools. Say what?
    • Mar 5, 2016
  • Latest Obamacare repeal bill would hit Arkansas treasury hard

    The latest effort to undo Obamacare, the Graham-Cassidy legislation, would shift federal support for health coverage to a block grant system to the states. Bad news for Arkansas.
    • Sep 18, 2017
  • Policy group urges opposition to new charter seats in Little Rock

    The Arkansas Public Policy Panel is urging supporters of the Little Rock School District to tell state Board of Education members they oppose applications to be heard this week to dramatically expand the number of charter school seats in the Little Rock School District.
    • Mar 9, 2016

Most Shared

  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation